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Amendment "aye" vote turns to "no"

Democratic Rep. Jim Crawford said at a public forum he will vote against the constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage he voted to put on the ballot because "it goes too far."

Crawford, who lives in Granville County, was criticized for his vote to put the amendment on the May 8 ballot at a candidate forum last month.

He's under fire from liberal groups for his amendment and budget votes. Progress NC Action is holding a demonstration outside the Oxford Courthouse tomorrow to call attention to what they called Crawford's "flip-flopping."

Crawford is in a primary with incumbent Rep. Winkie Wilkins.

State Board of Education passes resolution against amendment

The State Board of Education passed a resolution today opposing the constitutional amendment on marriage by a vote of 5-4.

Board member John Tate of Charlotte proposed the resolution because, he said, passing it will cause disruption in families that will hurt children's classroom performance.

The amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, will cause some people to lose health insurance, will weaken domestic violence protections for unmarried couples, and may hinder business recruitment, Tate said.

Live Chat: Join two religious leaders to discuss constitutional marriage amendment

The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer will host a live chat on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions with two of the state's religious leaders.

David Hains, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and Robin Tanner, a pastor at Piedmont Unitarian-Universalist Church will answer reader questions and discuss the amendment. Join the debate at 10:30 a.m. by clicking here.

Morning Roundup: Constitutional amendment on marriage takes center stage

The campaigns for and against the marriage amendment are taking center stage just days before the primary. The efforts are fueled by big national money. The debate is playing out in community forums, Facebook and websites far outside the traditional media. And even hair stylists are being enlisted to fight the referendum.

In Charlotte, a top Republican lawmaker said the amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions is "for the greater good." Rev. Billy Graham issued a statement favoring the ban. The wife of another GOP lawmaker is denying that she said the amendment is important to protecting the white race, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

In other political headlines:

--Elizabeth Edwards emerged as a central figure in Day 8 of the John Edwards trial, forcing daughter Cate Edwards to leave in tears at one point. The world is watching the trial. John Edwards was called "political roadkill" on Al Jazeera recently. And columnist Barry Saunders says the testimony of Andrew and Cheri Young makes them look as bad as Edwards.

Same-sex couples to seek marriage licenses in We Do campaign

Same-sex couples will seek marriage licenses in Durham on May 9, the day after the state votes on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The demonstration is part of the We Do campaign sponsored by the Campaign for Southern Equality.

The campaign starts in Wilson and Durham on May 9th, and runs for about a week in six other cities, including Charlotte.Same-sex marriage is against state law. When couples sought licenses in Asheville last year, they were turned away.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers walks fine line on marriage stance

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers' new TV ad is walking a fine line when it comes to her stance on marriage.

Ellmers, a freshman Republican facing three primary challengers, spoke out against North Carolina's marriage amendment earlier this year, saying she would vote against it. But in the 30-second TV ad, the narrator says Ellmers "fights for traditional marriage." (Watch above.)

Her spokesman said the same line earlier this year when acknowledging she'd vote against and doesn't oppose civil unions. ("She has an will continue to protect and defend marriage at the federal level," the aide said. More here.)

The statements draw a distinction at the federal and state level when it comes to banning gay marriage. But will voters see the nuance as genuine, or will they think she's talking out of both sides of her mouth?

PPP: Marriage amendment support steady

Majority support continues for the marriage amendment, with 55 percent of voters surveyed by Public Policy Polling saying they will vote for it, and 41 percent saying they are against it.

At the same time,  55 percent of those surveyed said they support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. The amendment would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions.

When told that the amendment would ban both gay marriage and civil unions, 38 percent continued to support it and 46 percent were opposed, according to PPP.

New York Times editorial calls marriage amendment 'gratuitous bigotry'

The New York Times editorialized against the constitutional marriage amendment in North Carolina this morning calling it "gratuitous bigotry."

"North Carolina already has a law barring same-sex marriage, but the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature is not satisfied. It devised a measure to enshrine this obvious discrimination in the State Constitution and placed it on the ballot of the state’s May 8 primary election — a test of tolerance versus bigotry that ought to be watched closely nationwide." Read the editorial here.

More volleys in the amendment ad war

The campaign opposing the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions has another television ad focused on domestic violence, this one featuring Wake assistant district attorney Amily McCool.

The anti-amendment campaign says that the amendment could weaken legal protections for domestic violence victims who are not married to their abusers.

The pro-amendment campaign, Vote for Marriage NC,  calls the domestic violence claim a "myth," and released its own ad last week to counter the claim.

In the Protect All NC Families ad, McCool is seen with stacks of files and pictures of bruised bodies. She says Amendment One could "take away protections for domestic violence victims."


Another Protect All NC Families ad that is running online only features a New Bern woman, Andrea Tillett McConnell, whose sister was murdered in 2009. Cindi Tillett Knighten was killed by her boyfriend.

Weekend roundup: Get an insider's view of the John Edwards trial

The federal courtroom where John Edwards is on trial is not big enough for all the spectators. But those who are shut out can still get an insider’s view of exhibits being discussed. In an unusual move, Judge Catherine Eagles has asked the clerks to post exhibits already published to the jury on a public website. Read more here.

Other political headlines:

--The Democratic Party’s national chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, added her voice to the president’s by speaking out against North Carolina’s proposed marriage amendment. Prominent Democrats also want to put the legalization of same-sex marriage in the party platform.

--Christensen: When President Obama visited Chapel Hill last week, the theme running through national media stories was how difficult it is going to be for the president to win North Carolina again. Full column here.

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